Letters to the Editor
The Blaine Visitor Center grand opening was held on February 19 and our thanks goes out to all who attended. We would like to express our appreciation to some wonderful people who made our relocation downtown possible: Dan Hicks Construction and Pacific Building Center, Ken Raithel, Bruce Wolf, Terry Galvin, Bob Brunkow, Jack Kintner, Jim Zell, Christina Alexander, Richard Sturgill and Deborah Harger. A special thanks to Pacific Arts Association, Smuggler’s Inn, Pizza Factory, Totally Chocolate, Nature’s Path Foods, Blaine Bouquet and Petal Attractions for their generous donations to our open house.
Blaine Visitor Center
This year’s Arts and Jazz “Dock of the Bay” was a huge success. Because of the generosity of this community, the Blaine Fine Arts Association was able to raise $7,400! That’s over $1,000 more than last year. Thanks to all the individuals and businesses that donated auction items. Thank you to all of you who came to the event, enjoyed the evening and bid on the silent as well as the live auction.
Thank you to Gary Tomsic, our multitalented city manager who made a return engagement as our lively auctioneer. Thank you to Sheila Connors who has organized the food for Arts and Jazz as well as the homecoming chili feed for many years. Ruth Johansen has been Sheila’s dependable assistant for several years. Patti Nichols, Jennylynn Fraser, Melanie Haines, Lynette Dudley, Linda Gudmundson, and the Seaside Bakery Cafe also helped prepare food.
Marilyn Freal and Dori Binder helped organize the decorating, assisted by Tess Carey. Dorita Gray perennially takes on the huge responsibility of organizing the auction as well as creating an auction brochure. Dorita was assisted by Nancy Hamburg, Anne Abrams, Tami Kramme, Janice Page, and Christy Olason. Blaine high school art student Hannah Williams did the artwork for our poster and Leslee Smith took it from there.
Leslee’s son Josh Smith, a Blaine high school band alumnus did the graphic design, and Leslee took it to print.
The art, band, choir, and drama students also helped decorate, prepare and serve food, helped with the auction and with cleaning. Brian Smith’s art students displayed some of their artwork, and once again sketched portraits of auction attendees. Andy Harmening and the chamber choir, and Bob Gray and the jazz band provided wonderful music.
It was a great evening, fun for all who attended, and will provide funds to send the jazz band to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho; and will also provide funds for scholarships, awards, specialized equipment and trips for students participating in art, band, choir, and drama. All of this was accomplished through a generous community who continues to give for the benefit of our students.
president, Blaine Fine Arts Association
I attended the February 24 public hearing on the proposed Seagrass Cottages development at Semiahmoo spit, held before the Blaine city planning commission. The larger community should know that the astute questions asked by the public exposed significant problems with this project.
Regarding the proposed storm water treatment system, the developers’ engineering consultants admitted that the “bio-infiltration swale” is a new design – without much rigorous testing or data. Whatcom County planning commissioner Geoff Menzies, acting as a member of the public (also a leader in restoring Drayton Harbor’s previously decimated shellfish population) pointed out that there is no water quality problem threshold identified, a formidable issue. He posed questions about the actionable level, how the problem is defined, how it’s mitigated and how long that takes. The developers didn’t seem to have many cogent answers.
The developers’ consultant for the impact of construction on the spit’s bird life concluded no significant impact. When contradicted and questioned by a professional ornithologist in the audience with 25 years’ teaching experience and observation on the spit, the consultant admitted that he “did not spend a lot of time on the spit observing” and that he’d been asked to do “only a review of the literature” (his main source being a study in Florida, not the Pacific Northwest). Nor did his “study” include land birds like the many raptors on the spit and consideration of noise impact of heavy construction equipment on bird life.
Last time I checked, the key component of the scientific method was empirical observation. Hence, I question whether this is just another attempt by a developer to present a wall of data masquerading as “science.” If so, it should outrage the commission and the public.
Please show up again in huge numbers at the continuation of this public hearing on Tuesday, March 10, 7 p.m. at the Blaine performing arts center. Show the commission that our community does not want this nor any other further development on Semiahmoo spit and that we want to protect the precious bird life, wildlife, and marine life in what should be a public treasure.
Jo Slivinski, Neighbors for Birch Point
If all of you think that the city is spending three million dollars for a boardwalk that no one will come to walk on when they can go to White Rock, which has hundreds of businesses and restaurants to enjoy when we have none, I have a solution.
I have a petition drawn up that would make the city put it on the ballot for all of us to vote on this expenditure, so the city won’t be wasting money like it did before. For this amount of money, the people whose pocket it is going to come out of, should also have a say in whether or not they are willing to take more out of your pocket to back these flights of fantasy by the city. The money could be better spent in trying to get more businesses in this town for the people to support and shop locally.
If you all will remember, it was the previous city manager who claimed that if we redo the main street people and businesses will come. They were wrong then and they are wrong now. If you want the petition or to sign it, please feel free to contact me and put this on the ballot for a fair true vote of the people.
(Ed. Note: The project is budgeted at $1.5 million, of which $700,000 is a grant, $500,000 is a low-cost loan to be repaid over 10 years by the hotel/motel tax and $300,000 from grants/fundraising. The city does not anticipate using general funds for the project.)
A couple of week ago The Northern Light published my letter to the district court after payment for a traffic citation on Drayton Harbor Road.
In last week’s issue of The Northern Light, Jack Kintner writes: “It’s a no-go on Drayton Harbor Road for the time being.” He concludes: “the trouble is that many drivers ignored the ‘road closed’ signs.” He quotes resident Becky Terry, who lives at Grace Harbor Farms at 5157 Drayton Harbor Road.
Terry pointed out that “signs went up 19 years ago to encourage drivers to use Semiahmoo Parkway and they didn’t do a bit of good.” Ironically, these residents advertise goat’s milk on their front lawn. The signs to which she refers presume knowledge of streets and direction (Drayton Harbor Road, west of Harborview) that neither visitors nor some residents may be familiar with.
Proper ‘road closed’ signage and barricades are listed in the Washington state driver’s manual. When traffic engineers adapt or use these partially they are not necessarily as clear or as legal as Kintner assumes. Kintner put a picture of the completed barricade that the county officials erected only after multiple complaints. His caption, “It’s hard to miss the signs now” is very true! Why did he not show pictures of what created confusion previously?
Since Kintner’s article did little to investigate the situation, I am enclosing the response that I received from Whatcom County Sheriff, Bill Elfo. He admitted a signage problem. If the other signs Kintner’s article mentions were ignored for 19 years, perhaps their ineffectiveness may prove worth looking into. Also why were these not previously enforced?
Thankfully, the sheriff took the responsibility to have the barricades completed that should have been there from the beginning. ‘Now it’s great,’ Ms. Terry exclaims!” At extra cost of time, money and frustration for many charged drivers and taxpayers.
For me some questions yet remain. Is the road closed only temporarily because of the recent damage? Normally is Drayton Harbor Road a public access road, private road or local access road? Who are locals? Are the 19-year-old signs meant to prohibit public access or discourage it?
Legally there’s a big difference. It would be helpful for The Northern Light to shed some light for more than long-term residents or arrogant reporting.
(Ed Note: In his letter, sheriff Elfo recommends those drivers who were cited should request a mitigation hearing with the court. Information regarding same is printed on the back of the citation.)
The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank-you letters should be limited to 10 names. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.
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The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank you letters are limited to five individuals or groups. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.
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